Social Security: House Committee Holds Hearing on Social Security Financing Bill

On July 25, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R.860). The bill would make Social Security benefits more adequate by providing a modest across-the-board increase, improving annual cost of living adjustments, and increasing the minimum Social Security benefit to 25 percent above the federal poverty line. Additionally, it would create a single Social Security Trust Fund to simplify Social Security’s operations and ensure that Social Security is able to pay full scheduled benefits for the next 75 years through modest enhancements to revenues. The Arc strongly supports the Social Security 2100 Act. Testimony from the hearing is available on the committee website.

Autism/Family Support: House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Autism CARES, Lifespan Respite Reauthorizations

On June 25, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Reauthorizing Vital Health Programs for American Families.” The hearing examined four bills reauthorizing health laws, including the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act and the Lifespan Respite Care Act. Witnesses for these reauthorizations were Amy Hewitt, Director, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota; and Jill Kagan, Director, ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center. Visit the committee website to review testimony and archived video of the hearing.

Housing: House Committee to Hold Hearing on HUD Oversight

On May 21, the House Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing titled “Housing in America: Oversight of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.” Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Dr. Ben Carson will testify. As stated in the Committee’s announcement, the hearing will examine “the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s current state of affairs and address major changes to agency policies and programs since 2017.” Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video on the day of the hearing.

Employment/Family Support: House Committee Holds Hearing on Paid Family and Medical Leave

On May 8, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing titled “Paid Family and Medical Leave: Helping Workers and Employers Succeed.” Witnesses were Marisa Howard-Karp, Member, MomsRising; Anthony Sandkamp, Owner, Sandkamp Woodworking; Pronita Gupta, Director of Job Quality, Center for Law and Social Policy; Suzan LeVine, Commissioner, Washington State Employment Security Department; and Rachel Greszler, Research Fellow in Economics, Budget, and Entitlements, Institute for Economic Freedom, The Heritage Foundation. Visit the committee website to review testimony and archived video of the hearing.

Education: House Committee Holds Hearing on Education Department

On April 10, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing titled “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education.” The sole witness was Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Secretary DeVos faced numerous questions related to proposed program cuts; the administration’s Freedom scholarship tax credit proposal, which could be used for private schools that do not have to adhere to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; loan servicing for post-secondary education; the decision to delay the significant disproportionality rule on disability identification, placement, and discipline by race/ethnicity; among other controversial issues. Visit the Committee website to review opening statements and testimony and view archived video of the hearing.

Education: House Committee Holds Hearing on Harmful Use of Seclusion and Restraint

On February 27, the House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled “Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint Practices.” Witnesses were Dr. George Sugai, Professor, University of Connecticut; Mrs. Renee Smith of Rhode Island, the parent of a young child with autism spectrum disorder who experienced frequent restraint and seclusion; Ms. Allison Sutton, Special Education Teacher, Wichita Public Schools; and Ms. Jacqueline Nowicki, Director of Education Workforce and Income Security, Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Arc worked with its state office in Rhode Island to recruit the parent witness and support her testimony.

Visit the Committee website for more information and to access archived video of the hearing. This hearing took place in anticipation of the reintroduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act in the coming weeks. The Arc greatly appreciates the Subcommittee’s effort to bring needed attention to the harmful and unnecessary practices of restraint and seclusion, which are disproportionately used on students with disabilities. The Arc also appreciates Mrs. Smith’s willingness to tell her family’s story about their difficult, but ultimately successful, experience in obtaining the proper supports in school.

Education: House Committee to Hold Hearing on Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint

On February 27, the House Committee on Education and the Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will hold a hearing titled “Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint Practices.” Witnesses will be Dr. George Sugai, Professor, University of Connecticut; Mrs. Renee Smith of Rhode Island, the parent of a young child with autism spectrum disorder who experienced frequent restraint and seclusion; Ms. Allison Sutton, Special Education Teacher, Wichita Public Schools; and Ms. Jacqueline Nowicki, Director of Education Workforce and Income Security, Government Accountability Office (GAO). Visit the Committee website for more information and to access live video on the day of the hearing. The live stream will begin at 10:00 a.m. EST.

This hearing is taking place in anticipation of the reintroduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act in the coming weeks. The Arc greatly appreciates the Subcommittee’s effort to bring needed attention to the harmful and unnecessary practices of restraint and seclusion, which are disproportionately used on students with disabilities.

Health Care: House Committee Holds Hearing on Legislation to Reverse Administration Policies on ACA Implementation

On February 13, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee held a hearing on proposed legislation that would reverse current administration policies on implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), such as the reduction in funding for programs that assist with enrollment and the regulation allowing wider use of short-term limited duration health insurance plans. Witnesses included Grace-Marie Turner, President, Galen Institute; Katie Keith, Associate Research Professor and Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University; and Jessica K. Altman, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Insurance Department. Visit the Committee website for testimony and archived video of the hearing.

Social Security – Senate Finance Committee Advances SSA Commissioner Nomination

On November 15, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously voted to favorably report the nomination of Andrew Saul to be Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA administers Social Security programs such as Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Visit the Committee web site for more information or to view archived video of the hearing.